PHOTOS: Take a peek inside the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

Hotdoggers brings smiles to Fates Market in Remus

REMUS — The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was in Remus last week to help Fate’s Market celebrate its upcoming 100th anniversary.

Hotdoggers (Wienermobile drivers) Tasty-Tay (Taylor Gray) and Nickaroni and Cheese (Nick Ruybalid) were on hand to share their knowledge of the Wienermobile, take pictures and spread smiles.

Gray said the first Wienermobile was built in 1936, during the depression, with the sole purpose of trying to make people smile.

“That is what we do today,” she said. “We don’t sell hot dogs or anything. We just try to make people smile with the giant hot dog and the little wiener whistles we give out."

Gray is from Farmington Hills and graduated from Michigan State university. She said she decided to apply to drive the Wienermobile because it is a job where you get to travel around for a year and make people happy.

“I love to travel, and their sole purpose is to make people happy. That is what really stuck out to me,” she said. “This is the first time back in Michigan since I started. I am very excited to have it in my own driveway for a few days.”

Every year Oscar Mayer hires 12 new drivers, from a poll of around 4,000 applicants, Gray said. The drivers go through a four to five month interviewing process, which includes face to face interviews — or in her case virtual interviews because of COVID-19.

Drivers are hired in June and drive for one year until the end of the following May. During the year they travel around the country attending a variety of events, such as retail events, parades, farmers markets, nursing home visits, wedding and even birthday parties.

“We do these events, and we also do public relations and marketing,” Gray said. “We take pictures with visitors, hand out whistles and let people see inside the Wienermobile.” 

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See more photos of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile's visit to Fate's Market at bigrapidsnews.com.

Occasionally, if the crowd is not too large, they can even give rides in the Wienermobile, Gray added.

“Anybody can request it, and it is always free,” she said. “Any family-friendly event that is going on, if we are in the area and have room, we can accommodate it.”

Throughout the year, drivers stay on location where the events are taking place, taking advantage of sight-seeing opportunities while they are there.

“This is the only vehicle we have, so we drive it to the grocery store, the movies, wherever we need to go,” Gray said. “You get to where it feels strange driving a regular car again.”

Ruybalid shared some history of the Wienermobiles through the years, saying two of the original vehicles were taken apart and used as scrap metal during World War II. 

The 1952 model is in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, he said, and others are in Wisconsin, Missouri and South Carolina. Some have been used for parts in building the newer models.

Gray and Ruybalid will end their Hotdogger careers the end of May. From there, Gray said she has a job lined up in Maine working in marketing.

Nickeroni and Cheese said the road is wide open to him for now.